A SERIAL offender who attacked his close friend with a hammer in the early hours of Boxing Day has been spared jail.

Martin Champion took cocaine on Christmas Day in 2018 and got involved in an argument with a long term friend of his, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Simon Blakebrough said he picked up a wine bottle to attack the friend after accusing him of being disrespectful but his then partner then got in the way to prevent this from happening.

His friend left with his partner in order to get away from Champion but later received a phone call asking where he was.

Fearing for his safety the friend lied about his location but less than a minute later an enraged Champion approached him and clearly had something in his pocket.

The 26-year-old picked it out and struck his friend and knocked him to the ground, the court heard, before a fight broke out.

The woman there got the help of a nearby resident and emergency services attended at around 2.40am on Boxing Day.

Champion was original charged with causing grievous bodily harm but later pleaded guilty to assault.

Mr Blakebrough said: "In terms of the injury it wasn't particularly serious, he suffered a laceration to the side of his head, nothing more serious or long lasting.

"'He said 'I considered Martin a friend, I have no idea why he has done this to me and left me scarred. It is the first time I have been involved in a serious assault, I felt I was in fear for my life.

"'I did not know if I would get back up, I do not want to see Martin ever again.''"

The court heard Champion had 12 convictions, including one for assault in 2010, and for an affray in 2015.

Nicola Gatton, representing Champion, of Glastonbury Gardens, Radcliffe, said her client had now met a young woman who had been a "calming influence" on him.

Recorder Peter Atherton gave him a 28-week suspended prison sentence and ordered him to take part in 10 days of rehabilitation activities.